Study Finds Sweet Diet Raises Men's Blood Pressure
A small study is among the first to show that regular consumption of fructose-heavy foods and drinks might raise blood pressure—at least in men, Bloomberg reports. The federally funded study of 74 middle-aged men found that after two weeks, those on a high-fructose diet saw an average 5 percent increase in their blood pressure. Researchers also found that a treatment for gout, a condition caused by too much uric acid in the blood, helped stop the rise in blood pressure. "We're not ready to lower uric acid as a means to lower blood pressure," study author Richard Johnson said. For now, he told Bloomberg, the best precautionary measure is to avoid overconsumption of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Results were presented at an annual American Heart Association conference on high blood pressure.
Here's a list of foods surprisingly high in added sugar, along with advice on sorting out sweeteners. Research has also found that reducing salt intake helps lower blood pressure. View a slide show of 10 foods high in sodium that could make hypertension worse.
5 Ways to Save Money on Birth Control in a Tough Economy
In these tough economic times, women are reporting that they've put off having a baby or have decided not to have any more children, according to a survey released yesterday by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focusing on reproductive health issues. The survey of 947 women ages 18 to 34 with annual household incomes of less than $75,000 was conducted this past summer, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.
It found that nearly half of women want to reduce or delay childbearing because of the economy. Yet the survey also found that many women are having trouble paying for birth control. Some are skimping on their method; about 8 percent of respondents said that to save money they sometimes didn't use birth control, and about 18 percent using the birth control pill said that in order to cut costs they didn't use it consistently. Kotz offers 5 ways to save money on birth control in these rough economic times.
Read about other ways the recession is affecting women's health, and here are 10 secrets to finding happiness during the recession.
Should You Join a Research Study? 9 Tips for Volunteers in Clinical Trials
Medical research is an enormous—and enormously important—enterprise. Without a steady stream of volunteers, it would grind to a halt, making new therapies impossible to develop, U.S. News's Ben Harder writes. Whether a particular medical study is right for a particular patient depends on the person's health condition, personal priorities, what alternative treatments are available, and how thoroughly the experimental therapy has been studied so far, among other factors. Harder offers 9 tips for people considering volunteering for a clinical trial.
Among the recommendations is to first understand the researchers' goals. A doctor's sole purpose is to help you get better, right? Not when she's wearing the hat of a medical researcher, Harder writes. A researcher's foremost responsibility, unlike that of a typical physician, is to ensure the scientific and ethical integrity of a medical experiment. Yet many patients wrongly hold a "presumption that being in a trial is [automatically] good for you," says Deborah Zarin, head of clinicaltrials.gov, a government database of clinical trials. That misunderstanding may lead some patients to agree to tests and procedures that they'd refuse if they really thought about the implications for their health. Read more.
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